Among the numerous numbers of snacks, which do Japanese prefer? The special TV program “14,000 Japanese Citizens to Vote! Japanese Snack Election” was broadcasted on July 20, 2020, allowing those 14,000 people to select their favorite snacks among 4,500 products. That’s right. FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED products.
22 Japanese snack companies, the highest record of participants, attended this program and the 30 best snacks were selected. So, which snacks made it to top 30?
The original flavor is salt, but Glico has been producing multiple series of Pretz that are limited to a certain region. If you travel to Hokkaido, don’t forget to check the Hokkaido butter flavor. Kyoto’s matcha, and Osaka’s octopus ball flavor are also good! Travel all around Japan and find different varieties of Pretz!
Pringles? Yup. Not exactly a true Japanese snack since these delicious potato chips can be found in many countries and are quite popular around the world. Well, now you know that Japanese people also love Pringles!
If you like spicy food, don’t miss out this Karamucho snack. With chili powder and various other spices, it will surely hit the spot! This is the Japanese equivalent to those deliciously spicy Mexican snacks, and while the flavor is naturally not the same, Karamucho is quite fantastic.
Who would have thought that the simple combination of chocolate and pretzel could create something that seems to be out of this world?
Kinokonoyama is one of Meiji’s most popular snacks. As their name in Japanese suggests, these cute chocolate snacks look like mushrooms. One of the most intricate things about this snack is the rivalry it has with a similar snack that is also produce by Meiji. The rivalry is similar to when people categorize themselves as either a “dog person” or a “cat person”. In this survey, though, the other snack ranked way higher than Kinokonoyama.
You like chestnuts but don’t like peeling them? You don’t need to! Kracie has already peeled these sweet chestnuts for you. Your task is just to open the bag, and throw the chestnuts into your mouth.
Lotte’s solid and ever-so-reliable seller, the Ghana Milk Chocolate bars are loved for their rich taste and how it melts in your mouth. What’s more, Lotte constantly shares recipes so you can use their famous chocolate bars to make a wide variety of desserts.
Simple but delicious, these cookies are so soft and tasty they seemed to have come straight from the oven. That’s why Moonlight by Morinaga are great and go well with your daily tea or coffee.
This baked pie crust filled with chocolate has been loved since 1979. Resembling a tiny pie, each crunchy bite will lead to an addiction as you finish the box. Best of all, the snack has a rather light flavor that can satisfy your sweet tooth without upsetting your stomach.
While making a pizza-flavored potato chip might seem strange to those from other countries, Calbee’s Pizza Potato has proven to be a remarkable success in Japan. The pizza-flavored chips have been so popular that many generic brands have come up with their own products, but nothing can beat Calbee’s original snack.
The original chocolate bar that spanned so many other fabulous snacks: Black Thunder has been a to-go snack for those craving chocolate without wanting to spend the extra yen on a pricey chocolate bar. Some of the products that were born thanks to its success include Black Thunder icecream and a collaboration with cheese tart giant, Pablo.
With its irresistible taste, Chipstar is Yamazaki’s best selling product. These chips come in both an S size and an L size, so you can buy either one depending on how hungry you are (or how much you are craving potato chips).
With both dark and milk chocolate options, Lotte’s Almond Chocolate is a perfect snack for many. Additionally, dark chocolate covered snacks are not that common, so having this option is great for those who do not want something that is extremely sweet.
The chocolate itself is delicious, of course. However, something interesting about Japan is that teenage girls tend to buy this particular chocolate bar before Valentine’s Day so they can make some sweets for their partners. Why girls, you ask? In Japan, women get chocolates to their partners on Valentine’s Day, while men reciprocate on White Day, which takes place on March 14.
Perhaps a bit surprising that Pocky didn’t crack the Top 10, but that doesn’t mean that this Japanese classic is not one of the most popular snacks in the nation. What’s so great about Pocky is that they have so many different flavors, including some seasonal ones. Also, did you know that November 11 is Pocky day in Japan? Why? Because if you put many Pocky sticks together they all look like the number 1. Ergo, four Pocky sticks look like 11/11. Want to make it more fun? Then celebrate on 11/11 at 11:11 am. Want to make it even more hardcore? Eat one of those Pocky sticks at the 11th second.
Each chip is sprinkled with small seaweed flakes, but the flavor is not overwhelming at all. Don’t forget to look at yourself in the mirror before going out since chances are you’ll have some seaweed flakes all over your teeth.
Made from flour and shrimp, Kappa Ebisen has been a leading Japanese snack since its launch in 1964. While the shrimp flavor might not be for everyone outside Japan, some foreigners do end up falling in love with this classic. That’s why the snack’s phrase or slogan translated to English is “You Can’t Quit, You Can’t Stop.” Another fun thing? I could hold 30 Kappa Ebisen inside my mouth!
Fried and coated with sweet soy sauce, these crispy crackers have the perfect mixture between salt and sweet that has made a very beloved snack. The fact that rice crackers are traditional Japanese snacks is a bonus point.
If you love Kettle’s potato chips (a famous brand from Oregon, USA), then you have to try its Japanese cousin! These salty potato chips will leave you licking your fingers, and if you decide to pair them with beer you will see how quickly you’ll be asking for refills.
A perfect snack for both toddlers and adults! These snacks are even common in kindergartens, so to many Japanese kids Happy Turn is their first ever snack. If you send your photo to their official website, you can order these snacks with a customized package!
We have made it to the Top 10! These chips have a vegetable and meat broth flavor no other company can replicate since this is Calbee’s secret recipe. Broth of any kind is certainly something foreigners might consider new and odd, so this is a great snack for those who want to try unique Japanese snacks.
These types of snacks are present in many countries under different brands and names, and they are always among the most popular snacks among kids. In Japan, Lotte’s Choco Pie dominates the market. The hard chocolate cover and the smooth marshmallow filling create the perfect combination to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
This is the perfect snack for those who like dark chocolate! Meiji’s Cacao 72% (and the ones with a higher percentage) are quite bitter. The most important thing about this snack is that Meiji didn’t turn Cacao 72% into a simple chocolate bar. Instead, the box contains individually wrapped chocolates that you can take to work or school as an invigorating snack.
Remember we mentioned that mushroom-shaped snack that faced an eternal rivalry with its sibling from the same company? Well, at number 7 we find its rival: Takenokonosato. These snacks are shaped like bamboo shoots, and they are in principle virtually the same as Kinokonoyama, but the slight differences have made it the most exciting rivalry in Japan’s snack market.
One of the most luxurious of the Japanese snacks, Meiji’s Macadamia Chocolate has been a perfect counterpart to Hawaiian Host’s macadamia products in a country whose residents account for the largest number of international visitors to the Hawaiian Islands.
No list would be complete without Kit Kat! While the snack itself is not from Japan, Neste Japan has taken Kit Kats to whole different levels thanks to never-ending flavors that include seasonal and limited ones. That’s one of the reasons tourists rush to Kit Kat stores in Japan to collect flavors they’d never be able to try at home. In Japan, Kit Kat also has a special significance. Since the name sounds like “Kitto Katsu,” which translates to “Maybe you will win,” the snack is often given to students who are taking important exams.
Since 1995, Calbee has launched numerous numbers of Jagariko besides the incredibly popular salad flavor. Jagariko look almost like French fries, but they are porous and quite crunchy. Calbee also likes to release new flavors in different seasons, so one can try them before they are not in stores anymore. The author’s favorite is Jagariko with cod roe, in case you were wondering! And a funny thing about the cod roe flavor is that it was intended as a seasonal one, but due to popular demand it became a regular one.
Kakinotane is the king of snacks and appetizers! You can serve them at parties, and they go so well with alcohol. They are also a bit spicy. Needless to say, Kakinotane is one of the safest options if you are going to be hosting or attending a casual event and need to have a good snack people can eat throughout the duration of the party.
Almonds and chocolate, that’s just a killer combination. That reason has been more than enough to make Meiji’s Almond Chocolate an unbeatable snack in Japan. What’s even more astonishing about Meiji’s Almond Chocolate place in the Top 3 is that usually Japanese people like to buy cheaper snacks that are around 100 yen or slightly more expensive, but nothing containing almonds will be that cheap. It goes to show that Meiji’s Almond Chocolate (and Meiji’s Macadamia Chocolate for that matter) are truly special snacks in the Top 10.
Potato chips with no special flavor other than salt? Yeah… it might sound like a very plain and boring pick to be Japan’s number one snack, but do not underestimate Calbee. Once you take your first bite, you won’t stop eating! No one can deny the stable deliciousness of these classic chips.